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Good Shepherd Australia Microfinance Matters

The last few months have seen Good Shepherd Microfinance focus on three financial inclusion programs at very different stages of their development.

We’ve launched Financial Inclusion Action Plans with program partners EY, the Centre for Social Impact and the Department of Social Services, announced Good Money's expansion to Queensland, and celebrated 35 years of the No Interest Loan Scheme with 250 delegates at our 2016 National NILS Conference.

ALSO IN THIS EDITION: Our CEO Adam Mooney looks at the parallel paths of sports betting and payday lending, a new video highlights value of affordable insurance, NILS stalwart joins the Order of Australia, and Tracey, Melanie and Nicole share how their small loans made a big difference.

Queensland Government's smart investment in Good Money

Two new Good Money community finance stores will respond to the increasing need for access to fair and affordable financial services for Queenslanders on low incomes.

Good Money offers responsible financial services to people who are otherwise excluded from mainstream financial services. They support customers to make responsible and sustainable financial decisions that lead to greater social inclusion and long-term financial self-management.

The stores, to be located in Cairns and on the Gold Coast, will be a three-way partnership between Good Shepherd Microfinance, the National Australia Bank and the Queensland Government. Read more.

Adam Mooney and Communities Minister Shannon Fentiman discuss Good Money in Queensland.

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“Good Money stores will help reduce the financial stress being felt by vulnerable Queenslanders so they can participate fully in our society and the economy.”
Queensland Communities Minister, the Hon. Shannon Fentiman, on Good Money community finance stores.
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Eleven trailblazers take corporate responsibility to new level
Eleven trailblazing organisations have unveiled their commitment to an innovative program designed to stimulate inclusive economic growth, especially focused on women. The new Financial Inclusion Action Plan (FIAP) program will see coordinated, measurable actions to improve financial resilience for large numbers of people experiencing financial exclusion and hardship.

Good Shepherd Microfinance and partners EYCentre for Social Impact and the Australian Government have developed the FIAP program, guided by an advisory group chaired by Ms Delia Rickard, Deputy Chair of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. Get the full story.
A small loan can make a big difference

"A lot of the jobs that I aspired to required a car. I applied for personal loans but was rejected because I didn't have a credit rating and I had bad debt.”

The No Interest Loan Scheme and StepUP Loan program gave Melanie financial stability and greater employment opportunities.

Affordable insurance benefiting clients and influencing industry
Last September, Good Shepherd Microfinance launched Australia’s first two insurance products designed for people on low incomes - Essential by AAI developed with Suncorp, and Insurance 4 That in partnership with IAG. Now a new video outlines how these products are benefiting our clients.

In other insurance news, Essential by AAI has been named a finalist for Innovation of the Year at the Australian Insurance Industry Awards, having already won awards for innovation at the Canstar Awards, Money Magazine Awards and the AB+F Insurance Awards.
The changing nature of payday loans requires attention

Once contained to shopfronts in the suburbs, sports betting can now be done anywhere, anytime using a smartphone. Betting adverts are on TV, radio, player’s uniforms and newspapers. The impact has been stark – betting terms like ‘the line’, ‘multies’ and ‘the spread’, once obscure, are now broadly used and understood by the sports fans, and kids judge a team’s chances by the odds rather than their line-ups.

This popularisation of sports gambling culture has been mirrored in the financial sector, where the ease in online lending, combined with an advertising blitz, has seen a boom in short term, high cost payday loans, which typically make a borrower’s financial situation worse.

Read more from Adam Mooney, CEO, Good Shepherd Microfinance.

NILS creates employment avenues

“I’m only halfway through my apprenticeship but, when I’m done, the world’s going to be my oyster.”

Tracey used the No Interest Loan Scheme to pay for her pre-apprenticeship course. Now she’s on her way to the ‘hands on’ job she always wanted.

Partnerships in the spotlight at 2016 National NILS Conference
Over two days at the iconic Adelaide Oval, the 2016 National NILS Conference focused on how partnerships can grow our reach and provide a better experience for our clients. A crowd of 250 microfinance workers heard from over 40 speakers, attended 15 workshops and learned from each other's experiences.

The highlights of #NILS16 were the sessions devoted to the future of NILS, which gave microfinance volunteers, workers and managers a chance to shape the future of the program. We may be celebrating the 35th birthday of NILS, but it was evident our network has its eyes set on the horizon. Read more about the 2016 National NILS Conference.

Energy poverty needs a 21st century solution
Rising energy costs have been felt by everyone, but people on low incomes are disproportionately impacted. A 2014 discussion paper from ACOSS reported that the lowest income households spend seven per cent of disposable income on energy, compared to 2.6 per cent for the highest income households. We’re calling for the incoming Government to encourage and incentivise landlords to improve the energy efficiency of their properties.

Read more from Peter McNamara and Tracy Collier.
NILS has Nicole's house looking beautiful

“My house is actually looking beautiful because of NILS!”

“My first loan was maybe 10 years ago in Tasmania … I’d just had my son, so I was about 25, and I got a fridge because I was a single parent and I couldn’t afford to buy a fridge outright. NILS put me in a position to pay it off with no interest.”

Sister Cecilia joins the Order of Australia
Sister Cecilia Wiltshire just had a fortnight she’ll never forget! Awarded New South Wales NILS Volunteer of the Year at the National NILS Conference one week, made a Member of the Order of Australia the next.

While the announcements were contained over a number of days in June, the recognition was the culmination of years of hard work, both for the No Interest Loan Scheme and the community more broadly. Read more about Sister Cecilia's contribution to the community.

Sister Cecilia Wiltshire celebrating her NSW Volunteer of the Year Award with her NILS colleagues.

Consumer leases a quick win for fairness
Perhaps because politicians, journalists and advocates can quickly turn budget dollars into lists of ‘winners and losers’, public discourse on financial inclusion in the lead up to the election has largely focused on who’s getting what. The upshot being that it draws attention away from those policy measures that don’t easily fit the narrative.

But if our political leaders want to increase fairness, they'd have an easy win in reforming 'rent to buy'.

Read more from Andrew Knight, National Manager, Good Money.

Financial fringe-dwellers
With 50 per cent of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population under the age of 25, we have a unique opportunity to target financial capability and capacity building programs to people who are yet to start, or are in the early stages of their financial journey. Now is the time to increase efforts and funding to improve the financial inclusion and resilience in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander early childhood and youth services to create lasting change in communities across Australia.

Read more from Benson Saulo, Financial Inclusion Action Plan Advisor.